Power of Metal.dk Live Review

Wacken Open Air 2014

Wacken, Germany
: 30th of July - 2nd of August, 2014

25 years of METAL in a field outside a small village in northern Germany. That, surely, is a celebration you want to be part of?! Indeed, the Power Of Metal.dk crew packs the tent in the car and does the four-hour trek south yet again.

Over the past weeks, one has looked at the billing and wondered if the really, really big headliner name would be added at last, accentuating the fact that this is a silver jubilee. That name never came. Yes, there are really good names and a couple of names we’re looking very, very much forward to seeing, but show me a Wacken year where this hasn’t been the case. I’m probably thinking that Metallica and AC/DC would be appropriate headliners for a year like this – or is it just me?

As we arrive, we learn that things have been moved around a bit this year; the beer garden has been moved from its usual spot and is now bigger (needed!), the layout of the entrances from the camping ground have also been changed, and the VIP camping has been moved away from the press area, leaving more space for the growing press corps (needed!). However, as it turns out, it also giving us a longer walk to the stages or alternatively a shuttle bus service which is only available twice per hour, thereby rendering us less flexible.

Anyhoo, we’ll see how things go – lots of heavy music is guaranteed, that’s for sure.

The Power Of Metal.dk Wacken this year: Phil, Kent, Thomas

Some Israelis have decided to bomb tunnels in Gaza, others spend time unleashing sonic attacks upon the Wacken Wednesday audience. Israeli Metal Battle winner MAGOR from Tel Aviv deliver a more than decent round of melodic black metal and they do so with conviction. The singer/guitarist does his best incite the audience to move and manages to do so. A minor flaw of the gig is that the PA falls out a few times, but this is of course something the band is not to be blamed for.
Attending: Thomas, Phil, Kent
Link: http://www.magorband.com  

I was impressed by Irish Metal Battle winner KILLFACE’s debut album, ‘Feeding the Dead’, and I’m looking forward to hear if the death metal combo can live up to the recorded outbursts of anger on a stage. I’d say yes. The Dublin five-piece provide brutal kicks of thrash-inspired death metal, although they do seem a bit nervous at first. They never quite get rid of the somewhat tense appearance, and I’m thinking that the band, especially the singer, could easily loosen up a bit and interact much more with the audience. Anyway, the first circle pit I’ve seen at this year’s Wacken festival is a fact!
Attending: Thomas, Phil, Kent
Link: https://www.facebook.com/Killfaceirl  

There’s even more moshing going on when South African Metal Battle winner RED HELEN takes to the stage. I’ve been told that the band plays nu-metal in the vein of Korn, but this is not the full truth. Yes, there is a definite inspiration in the nu-metal genre, however this is not just a clone band. With lots of energy and a multi-facetted approach to song writing, the South Africans create a party and make the audience, this old hag included, jump and bang their heads. This front man, by the way, has exactly the in-your-face attitude I was looking for in Killface. Good job.
Attending: Thomas, Phil
Link: https://www.facebook.com/RedHelen  

That marks the end of the programme for us today. We watch a bit of the new Ministry film in the Movie Field as well as Mambo Kurt’s butchering of System Of A Down’s Chop Suey and then head back to camp to get some sleep.
Attending: Thomas, Phil


My Thursday starts off with TROUBLE AGENCY from Belgium. They play good old school thrash metal, simple head banging pleasures for a simple man as your humble servant is. You can feel the savoir-faire from a band which started twenty-one years ago. You can enjoy the guitar duo Gibson Explorer and ESP Stratocaster, and appreciate the contribution of the bass with some interesting five strings lines.
Attending: Phil
Link: http://www.troubleagency.be  

CONVIVIUM do not bring you the dark aggression of At the Gates or the In Flames groove, but they surely have a typical Swedish metal melodic touch, much in the vein of the bands mentioned.
Attending: Phil
Link: https://www.facebook.com/conviviumofficial  

Time to leave a certain kind of tradition and meet AGNI KAI: when muscle and creativity unite. In order to give you a little idea, I guess I found some of The Dillinger Escape Plan in these Macedonian youngsters, with the following spicy ingredients: groovy drums, bass and rhythm guitar hard as a rock, shredding solo guitar, and a possessed front man who screams, growls and sings as well. This band should have a future, no doubt about it.
Attending: Phil
Link: https://www.facebook.com/agnikai.mkd  

The Wacken programme leaflet describes ROOM OF THE MAD ROBOTS from Budapest as a mix of psychedelic harmonies, stoner rock and doom grooves. Well, these musicians sound like they have been playing together for eons, and they are experienced enough to take the audience down into their own world. They really deserve two thumbs up for that, especially when you consider that each Metal Battle band only has twenty minutes to show what they’ve got.
Attending: Phil
Link: http://www.roomofthemadrobots.hu  

After this Hungarian journey, let us go back to some fundamentals and 100% German heavy speed from...the Land of the Rising Sun! Metal really has no borders. HELLHOUND from Tokyo shares its passion with an enthusiastic crowd. The title of their second album talks for itself: ‘Metal Fire from Hell.’
Attending: Phil
Link: http://www.hellhoundmetal.com  

Sometimes you don’t read the band descriptions properly enough. Only when we arrived here yesterday, I realised that the EVOCATION on the list isn’t the Swedish old school death metal outfit, but rather the Hong Kong based Chinese Metal Battle winner. The five-piece is a positive surprise indeed! Their tightly delivered mix of oriental instrumentation and blackened death metal hits right home with me. It adds to the experience that the keyboarder constantly throws notes with Chinese signs up in the air and performs little rituals with a bell – and of course that it’s just visually cool when three guys with equally long black hair do synchronised propeller banging. Heads down fuckin’ metal, this one.
Attending: Thomas
Link: https://www.facebook.com/evocationhk  

Looking like four guys who are barely out of their teens, Lithuanian Metal Battle winners JOUDVARNIS deliver a decent effort. Their lyrical universe is supposedly inspired by Lithuanian folklore, but who knows – the lyrics are, as far as I can hear in the band’s vernacular. Their music isn’t quite my cup of chai, although their mix of power metal, death and a touch black, all done with clean vocals in theory is interesting enough.
Attending: Thomas
Link: https://www.facebook.com/juodvarnis.band  

Scantily clad maidens and shouting wrestlers take over the Bullring Circus, and I discreetly make my way back to the camp with the chants of ‘Auf die Fresse! Auf die Fresse!’ ringing in my ears.
Attending: Thomas

Later on, Spanish Metal Battle winners IN MUTE deliver an effective burst of modern death metal. The wee but highly energetic front lady is equally effective and it’s hard not to think of Angela Gossow. Approved gig! (See mini interview below.)
Attending: Thomas, Phil, Kent

Changing scene entirely, the only Wackinger Stage concert we’re attending this year is by German folk-punk crew FIDDLER’S GREEN. Listening to this cheerful and extremely danceable music, it’s hard not to be in a good mood if you’re someone like me who likes his folk music, nicely composed tunes and a lot of activity on stage. Incidentally, much of what Fiddler’s Green do reminds me of latter-day Skyclad which is, of course, not at all a bad thing. Apart from one less fortunate ballad all songs work brilliantly and the combo turns the area in front of the Wackinger Stage into a dust-filled party.
Rating: 80/100
Attending: Thomas, Phil

SAXON aren’t exactly new to Wacken. Well, they aren’t exactly new at all. I’ve never been a fan as such and I’m not too familiar with their material, but I do appreciate songs like Solid Ball of Rock, Crusader, Wheels of Steel, The Eagle Has Landed and Denim and Leather. The treat tonight is that Biff and his troops have added to the ranks four violinists and a percussionist. This gives the whole concert a special edge (and this is probably what makes me stay for the whole duration of the gig), sometimes adding a folk accent to the songs, sometimes a classical. Professionally delivered concert by the old men, big production, excellent sound, all in all a good experience.
Rating: 78/100
Attending: Thomas, Kent

ACCEPT do more than provide the big Wacken crowd with merely a good experience. Being one of Germany’s most popular metal bands of course puts a bit of pressure on you, but the veterans certainly deliver the goods. The always smiling or grinning Wolf Hoffman and his guitar compadre Hermann Frank churn out classic riff after classic riff and provide us with some of the best air guitar material there ever was. Apart from a few newer songs (Stampede and Stalingrad kick off the set), the sound of our youth rings through the Wacken evening as heads bang to Princess of the Dawn, London Leather Boys, Monsterman, Breaker, the monstrous anthem Metalheart, Balls to the Wall, Restless and Wild and a blistering version of Fast as a Shark. Horns up, man, horns up! This is the first time I see Accept with Mark Tomillo, and I can conclude that he’s a perfect front man for Accept and a more than worthy replacement for Udo. The way he handles the song Shallow Soldiers is goosebump-provoking (in a positive way), and the Udo classics aren’t a problem at all for the American. Great gig!
Rating: 87/100
Attending: Thomas, Phil, Kent

We end this night too in the Movie Field where a recording of the Type O Negative Wacken concert from 2007 is shown. I was there, but I’d completely forgotten how weird it was, and how terrible most of it sounded and how terrible Pete looked, may his wretched soul rest in peace. A girl in front of us cries her eyes out during the entire showing of the concert. We’re not the only ones who miss the big man’s musical talents and provocations, it would seem.
Attending: Thomas, Phil

In Brief with… 

Steffi from Metal Battle winners IN MUTE

Steffi and our Phil - grrrrr!

IN MUTE would eventually go on to win the Metal Battle 2014. Phil had the opportunity to ask singer Steffi a few questions.

Phil: You seem to be a nice and normal person now. But when you hit the stage yesterday afternoon, you were just mad!

Steffi: Coming on stage, just after hearing the first notes, it is like going into a trance, especially with the energy I get from the fantastic audience. It is a very strong feeling, hard to describe.

Phil: You wear a knee support?

Steffi: I got a ligament injury and I have to keep it three months more. It hurts a little bit right now, but you feel no pain when you play on stage. It is just fun and pleasure.

Phil: What are your immediate plans?

Steffi: We are going to play some shows in Spain, then we will see.

Visit In Mute’s website here. http://www.inmute.com


Where Wednesday and Thursday were fairly relaxed, Friday is the first of two metal marathon days. Our planned schedule for the day begins at 11.55 and ends at 3 in the morning with no real breaks! Let’s see if we can pull through with the ambitious running order.

SKID ROW have been without original singer Sebastian Bach for ages now, but still they’ve managed to carry on putting out albums and tour with singer Johnny Solinger. To be honest, sad as it may be, all we’re in interested in is to hear material from the debut album and ‘Slave to the Grind’, and when the band kicks off with the song Let’s Go from one of the newer albums, we’re slightly worried. No need. Immediately after, the riff from Big Guns sounds over the already too hot fields of Wacken. Makin’ a Mess and Piece Of Me follow after Solinger in the best American hardrock front man fashion has declared that the mighty (!) Skid Row are here and that they’re going to rip our faces off (did the guy look at the billing of this festival at all? It’s hardly likely that Skid Row will be the ones to rip faces off in this company...but let that rest). Anyway, as the first notes of 18 And Life are played, memories of school trips and parties flood back and there’s not much else to do than sing along as best as you can and keep the goose bumps at bay. Only a few newer songs are played (one of them being We Are The Damned from the new ‘United World Rebellion II’ which is being released just now), otherwise we’re heading down memory lane with the cover song Psycho Therapy (song by bassist Rachel Bolan), I Remember You, a groovy version of Monkey Business, Slave to the Grind and finally Youth Gone Wild. The main drawback of this set? Solinger talks far, far too much! Otherwise a fine way to start the Friday.
Rating: 75/100
Attending: Thomas, Phil

After good hard rock times, including ‘Slave to the Grind’ and the cliché-filled rambling between songs, it is time for a complete change of atmosphere. If the kind of L.A. sunshine we have in Wacken suits Skid Row’s music, it is not the same for the raw black metal delivered by ENDSTILLE, but the band and its dedicated fans do not give a damn, if you will allow me to use this expression. Actually, their inspiration is not concentrated on Satan, Lucifer, Belzebuth, Asmodée and Co. As for Marduk and its Panzer Division, the German black metallers’ imagery and lyrics focus on contemporary wars and weapons. A fan in front of me is wearing an Endstille t-shirt with a technical description, level by level, of the V2. Brrrrrr... The First World War started a hundred years ago. I guess that could be a source of ideas for them. Endstille knows how to build an intense and oppressive sound, trademark of the genre. They get the support of a Norwegian guest, the screamer of Naglfar, a band I actually appreciate. Our corpse painted friends also have a sense of humour, which is cool I guess (maybe not for the purists...). A solid show.
Rating: 69/100
Attending: Phil

SANCTUARY press conference

Meanwhile, in the press tent, SANCTUARY present three new songs from the forthcoming comeback album, ‘The Year The Sun Died’, which is set to be released on the 6th of October, and after that guitarist and composer Lenny Rutledge and singer Warrel Dane are available for questions.

The three songs sound like a mixture of the old Sanctuary and Nevermore - and one would think it difficult otherwise when Dane’s voice is part of the equation. The songs are mid- to up-tempo and by first listen sound really, really good and dark.

Dane looks decidedly unhealthy, though; he’s terribly skinny and seems fidgety despite the fact that he states that he’s in a good place in his life and talk about seeing elk at Lenny’s farm in the mountains and almost burning down his house. I truly hope this is the case.
Attending: Thomas

Sanctuary - new album out soon 2014 (l-r Lenny Rutledge, moderator Gunnar Sauermann (Season of Mist), Warrel Dane)

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH have a surprisingly big following here in Germany. I’m not too familiar with FFDP myself, but they’re effective as hell and their music is, admittedly, extremely infectious and catchy – the tune Burn It Down being a good example. Spontaneous pits break out even where I stand and the whole area in front of the True Metal Stage is turned into a dust-clouded slamming party zone.
Rating: 79/100
Attending: Thomas

On the Party Stage, HELLYEAH kick off with something as unusual as Reign In Blood as the intro for their show. Sets the bar high, one should think. I, for one, can’t help listening for Pantera similarities, and they are certainly there – though mostly in Vinnie Paul’s style and sound. This is the first time I listen to Hellyeah’s material and I’m not really overwhelmed by excitement. 20 years ago, this would have made a difference, today it doesn’t really.
Rating: 65/100
Attending: Thomas, Phil

EXCREMENTORY GRINDFUCKERS hit the W.E.T. stage and they are ready for an early (or late?) Christmas party, with gifts and trees! The two ‘singers’ of the band are dressed up as Jesus and Mary. The label I can put on them is something like Techno-Ska-Grindcore, but no matter what, it’s 100% fun in German, and they do a nice cover of ‘Ballroom Blitz’.
Rating: Pick any number between 0 and 100...
Attending: Phil

On the True Metal Stage, HEAVEN SHALL BURN, one of the household extreme metal names of Wacken Open Air, show yet again that they in this day and age are the kings of innovative metalcore. Like the other two times I’ve seen Marcus Bischoff and his crew tear Wacken apart, there is the traditional massive circle pit, this time accompanied by an equally massive dust cloud (‘Ich will Staub sehen!’ as Bischoff exclaims at some stage – ‘I want to see dust!’ – and that he certainly gets.). New tunes Land of the Upright Ones, Godiva and Hunters Will Be Hunted go down really well alongside older material like Voice of the Voiceless and the Martyrs’ Blood as well as Black Tears. Dan Swanö (from Edge of Sanity who made the song, for those of you who weren’t aware) joins Heaven Shall Burn on stage to deliver Black Tears. Another cover ends the gig as Blind Guardian’s Valhalla thunders over the fields and represents a perfect sing-along opportunity for the thousands of Germans in particular. Odd that Hansi doesn’t join in for this one, but there’s probably a good reason for that.
Rating: 90/100
Attending: Thomas

Do not expect any surprises from CHILDREN OF BODOM. They play Finnish melodic speed death metal and they do it pretty well, both on CD and on stage. The weather is still warm, especially for my ‘winter is coming’ taste, but a little breeze helps. Alexi Laiho is standing with his signature guitar on his thigh, his favourite position, delivering tons of riffs, solos and the usual ‘Muthafucka’. Last but not the least: the sound is excellent. CoB does not forget to play the classic ‘Hate Crew Deathroll’. All in all a successful concert.
Rating: 77/100
Attending: Phil

Watching and listening to APOCALYPTICA and Orchestra is in truth a wonderful experience. No hard feelings with the cello maniacs from Finland, but my mind is already somewhere else, towards the Party Stage, which has the adequate denomination for what we are about to live.

I have seen CARCASS in Paris during their Heartwork tour, and in Bergen years later, during their reunion tour at Hole in the Sky festival. But now, the comeback album ‘Surgical Steel’ has been unleashed upon the world to much acclaim and tonight is a chance to hear both old and new songs, all top class stuff as far as I am concerned. The band has only 75 minutes and wastes no time. Armed with his bass, his voice and his British sense of humour, Jeff Walker wonders why we are here instead of at the Motörhead show (taking place on the Black Stage at the same time). It’s probably because this could also be the last opportunity to see him, the front man ponders, since he’s also growing old. Not likely, one should think. Within the happy crowd in the front, I have landed among other die-hard fans from Latin America. It is not just full killing on stage: it is a great party for connaisseurs! When I did an interview with Jeff Walker last year, he told me that ‘Captive Bolt Pistol’ maybe was not the best song. First, I really think there are no weak songs on ‘Surgical Steel’. Secondly, this song is born to be played live. It opens the final part of these fireworks, followed by ‘Corporal Jigsore Quandary’ and ‘Heartwork’. OK, I am perhaps not objective about Carcass, but when I finally find Kent and Thomas just after the show, they are also on their knees with big smiles on their faces after this trip down memory lane with one of extreme metal’s best bands ever. A terrific evening and night, with a perfect band order. Now on to Slayer and then King Diamond.
Rating: 98/100
Attending: Phil, Thomas, Kent

Having just been devoured by the Carcass beast, it’s hard to imagine even SLAYER be anything else than an anticlimax. This is luckily not the case. The power of the Slayer back catalogue should never be underestimated, and the stage is kind of set as the intro for Hell Awaits begins to slowly grow into the infamous crescendo of evil. They’ve even got flames on stage for the song tonight, so along with the coolest Marshall stacks ever (stacked metre-high as two gigantic, fire-spewing inverted crosses) the atmosphere is just right as the sun has finally decided to make a rest after having scourged us for so many hours today. The ever majestic and polite Tom Araya and the boys take us through a set covering the earliest times to latter-day efforts with The Antichrist, Necrophiliac, Mandatory Suicide, Hate Worldwide, War Ensemble, Postmorten, Captor of Sin, Disciple, Seasons, Born of Fire, Dead Skin Mask, Raining Blood, Black Magic, South of Heaven and finally, Angel of Death finishes off a set that is as solid as only Slayer can deliver it.
Rating: 90/100
Attending: Thomas, Phil, Kent

Midnight belongs to the king himself. KING DIAMOND has had lots of problems with his back and whatnot, but now he seems to be on a roll again, and the Wacken True Metal Stage can of course support the full stage show from the person who is often cited as an inspiration for everyone from Metallica to Mayhem. There is little doubt that it is due time that King visits Wacken with his horror show. The wait is rewarded with an excellent gig with plenty of props, effects and staging. Having long faced up to the fact that his voice isn’t what it used to be, King has employed a female back-up singer who stands on the right-hand side of the stage. Other than that, King’s trusted aide, Andy La Rogue, as well as Mike Wead, new bassist Pontus Egberg, drummer Matt Thompson and finally the dancer come Grandma and the odd priest plus assistant when Granma is finally cremated. The stage is changed throughout the set in terms of backdrop and lighting, constantly providing something new for the eyes to feast upon. Our ears aren’t left in peace either. Both the Amon and Abigail universes are visited (Sleepless Nights/Welcome Home/At The Graves/Tea/A Visit from the Dead/Cremation from ‘Them’/’Conspiracy’ and The Family Ghost/Black Horsemen), but also two tracks from ‘Give Me Your Soul...Please’, the title track from ‘The Puppet Master’ and ‘Eye of the Witch’ are aired. As a little present for those of the true old school, Evil and Come to the Sabbath, complete with the lovely dancer performing a ritual, sound into the night. No matter if you like King’s vocal or not, you’re fairly certain to be entertained by the now 58-year-old Kim Bendix Petersen and his twisted universe.
Rating: 85/100
Attending: Thomas, Phil, Kent

Despite our initiatially ambitious intentions, the King Diamond concert marks the end of Friday for us. The heat, dust and walking back and forth has all taken its toll on us, and even if we’d have loved to see what Blackie Lawless is capable of these days, the 01:45 – 03:00 spot just seems too challenging. We hit the sack after an ice-cold shower, well aware that the sun will wake us up quite early in the morning.


And it’s important to be fully awake on this Saturday morning. We have to miss the Arch Enemy show (sadly, because it’s Alissa’s introduction to Wacken) due to the fact that PRONG are scheduled for a 12 o’clock gig just like the Swedish/Canadian melodic death metal crew. I’ve never seen Prong before and therefore it’s a definite must, having been a fan since the ‘Beg to Differ’ album from 1989. I’ve always read and heard that Tommy Victor and his changing compadres play it as tight live as they do on record, and I’m happy to say that this is in truth the case. Victor is looking more fit than I’ve ever seen him (twice with Danzig) and today’s performance is just right in your face. Like a true power trio, Prong fire away with the grandiose thrash tune Eternal Heat from ‘Carved Into Stone’, then Lost And Found, new track Ruining Lives, Unconditional, the mighty Beg To Differ, Turnover, also from ‘Ruining Lives’, Carved Into Stone, Revenge...Best Served Cold, Whose Fist, Snap Your Fingers, Power Of The Damager and finally Another Worldly Device. This is one of those concerts that ends far too soon, just like the Carcass show last night. I want more! Excellent sound, fantastic band!
Rating: 90/100
Attending: Thomas/Phil

From New York we head to the Ruhr district of Germany and another kind of power trio who fire away with a round of ur-thrash: SODOM. There’s been very little progress for Tom Angelripper and his band the past, oh, 30 years or so, but I can’t help loving it anyway. Especially with an intro piece like Agent Orange and then the move onto the likes of Outbreak of Evil (pure cult!), Sodomy and Lust, Blasphemer, Remember the Fallen and finally Ausgebombt. Excellent trip back in time.
Rating: 80/100
Attending: Thomas

BEHEMOTH have received immensely good live reviews over the past months. I can see why, even if the sound that emanates from the Black Stage today is, to say it the least, poor. The stage presence of the Polish band with Nergal in front is visually impressive and professional. Too bad about the sound.
Rating: 80/100
Attending: Thomas, Phil

The next big name on our list today is none other than the mad genius DEVIN TOWNSEND and his PROJECT. Despite something which is at first a thunderous and not at all pleasant sound, things improve and turn into one of the most hilarious festival shows I’ve witnessed. Townsend is utterly brilliant. Nothing more, nothing less. We’re guided through the heavy soundscapes of Seventh Wave, War, By Your Command, Deadhead, Planet of the Apes, Numbered!, Supercrush, Kingdom, Juular, Grace and Bad Devil, but it’s actually not so much the songs in themselves that makes this a magnificent experience - no, it’s just as much Devin’s wild mimicking and his completely out of place and insane comments. Things like “Here’s a heavy metal love song, because nerds have feelings too!” or “This is not a festival song, trust me” and his general observations about his penis being small and how that makes him have to play guitar the way he does. Oh, yeah, and of course he doesn’t incite to chaos, no, no, Devin incites to a first ever group hug at Wacken. Amazing.
Rating: 90/100
Attending: Thomas, Phil

Ihsahn and Samoth are men of their word. The good news they brought at Wacken 2013 is coming to reality with EMPEROR reunion for ‘In the Nightside Eclipse’ twenty years anniversary show. Ihsahn is back on the Black Stage where we left him last year. He has taken his Leprous friend Einar Solberg with to play keyboards and backing vocals. Frost is also here in top form. I can feel a kind of nostalgia with ‘Wrath of the Tyrant’ cover on the backdrop, an album recorded when Emperor was a wild bunch of teenagers. Emperor plays ‘In the Nightside Eclipse’ in chronological order and it works great. Big difference with Behemoth concert, it is possible to perfectly hear the guitars, and actually each instrument. Ihsahn’s voice comes directly from the Pandemonium. I am really enjoying this special moment. Ihsahn asks and gets a head banging without compromise for ‘I am the Black Wizards’, before delivering a great ‘Inno a Satana’ and its melodic refrain. As encores Emperor plays ‘Ancient Queen’ and ‘Wrath of the Tyrant’ from the eponymous record, and pays tribute to Quorthon with the Bathory cover ‘A Fine Day to Die’. I do not know if Skid Row is almighty as its singer pretends, but Emperor is.
Rating: 93/100
Attending: Phil

My original intention was to see Emperor, but the warmth and dust is getting to me (not, I repeat NOT age!) so I retire to the camp to get some food and water. After all, I have seen Emperor before (Wacken 2006). I return to see AMON AMARTH who are in great shape on the True Metal Stage, launching the Viking raid with Father of the Wolf and ending it just as effectively with The Pursuit of Vikings an hour and fifteen minutes later to massive cheers from the ecstatic Wacken crowd.
Rating: 89/100
Attending: Thomas, Kent

Oddly enough, this is the first time MEGADETH visit Wacken. I’d like to say that it is a triumphant advent, but sadly it is not to be so. From the outset, things go wrong for Mega-Dave. The intro video is interrupted. Then comes back with no sound. The band goes on, the PA isn’t turned up. When it is finally turned on after a few, long, painful seconds, it becomes clear that we’re hearing Hangar 18, and things can finally take off. You’d think. But they never really do. The sound quality is a rollercoaster ride throughout the gig, Kingmaker being the absolute low point with a completely mashed up sound. The funny thing is that it actually sounds good when he sings, but he sounds completely screwed up and hoarse when he talks between songs. He doesn’t look too good, actually, kind of red in the face. Anyway, the set list is not to be complained about, holding a bunch of my favourite Deth tunes. Apart from Hangar 18, there’s Wake Up Dead (absolute favourite!), In My Darkest Hour (absolute favourite no. 2!), Skin o’ My Teeth, Sweating Bullets, Tornado of Souls, Poison Was the Cure, She-Wolf, Trust, the aforementioned Kingmaker, the Thin Lizzy cover Cold Sweat, Symphony of Destruction, Peace Sells (absolute favourite no. 3!) and finally the encore Holy Wars... A shame that this wasn’t as awesome an experience as I’d hoped it would be – it could’ve been one of the highlights of Wacken 2014.
Rating: 75/100
Attending: Thomas, Phil, Kent

I head back to camp for a wee rest, but manage to catch a bit of FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE gig on the way. Symphonic, bombastic death metal from Greece. They sound great, no doubt, but after a short while I’ve had enough of people, dust and warmth and actually already at this stage, I decide to head for the showers and the sleeping bag, thereby leaving it up to Phil to take in Kreator’s late performance.

I had a cool and almost quiet Wacken 2013 epilogue with Rage & Lingua Mortis orchestra. Tonight, that will be a different story and nothing but war! The equation is simple: there is no thrash metal without KREATOR. It has been the case for three decades. I have seen the German quartet many times and I never get weary. ‘Mars Mantra’ is the calm before the storm. The first notes of ‘Phantom Antichrist’ are unleashing the hostilities. A few metres from the stage, I am surrounded by a cloud of dust, caused by a pit in fusion just behind me, always in motion. There is a non-stop flow with slam divers of both genders, even during Sami Yli-Sirniö’s acoustic break. The high quality sound is bombastic. The band’s classics segue one to another. My favourite song from ‘Phantom Antichrist’, the explosive ‘Civilization Collapse’, is not forgotten: hypersonic tempi require surgical precision. The highly expected encore ‘Flag of Hate’ is introduced with an original approach. Herr Petrozza reminds us of the band’s formation in 1982, when Michael Jackson was ruling over the pop music world with ‘Thriller’. Believe it or not, Kreator suddenly plays a few notes of ‘Beat It’. Mille is remembering ‘Endless Pain’, the first record in 1985, then he is taking a five year step forward to pay tribute to Judas Priest’s ‘Painkiller’; and again, a few notes are played. The show is closed by a ruthless rendition of ‘Tormentor’. Back to camping, my last shower is more than welcome, before creeping in my sleeping bag, broken, almost dead, but happy.
Rating: 96/100
Attending: Phil

So, the 25th Wacken Open Air draws to its inevitable end. A hot and dusty bastard it has been, but also filled with great music. The huge name we were hoping for never appeared. Still, the likes of Carcass, Amon Amarth, Slayer, Devin Townsend, Heaven Shall Burn, Accept and Kreator did their very best to tear the place apart, and they made the festival a memorable one like all the others have been. We lift our hats and bid the fields of Wacken farewell yet again, and we hope that we’ll see each other for more metal madness in a year’s time.




No tunnel vision here - Magor from Israel

Death metal from Dublin - Killface

South African nu+ metal- Red Helen 


Belgium choko...thrash - Trouble Agency

Swedish melo-death - Convivium

Macedonia meets Dillinger Escape Plan - Agni Kai

Creative Hungarians - Room of Mad Robots 

Germany anno 1988? No, Japan, 2014! Hellhound

Brilliant Chinese metal - Evocation

A spiritual pagan journey? Jourdvarnis

And then...errr...woooar...more...ehm...wrestling

Effective Spanish performance - In Mute

Folk-punk party time - Fiddler's Green

Violins and Saxon - a fine combination

Delivering the goods - Accept


Beer for breakfast! Johnny Solinger and Skid Row

Black metal a la Germany - Endstille

Catchy shit - Five Finger Death Punch

It takes more than a great drummer.... Hellyeah

Merry Christmas from Excrementory Grindfuckers!

Give me more dust, please! Heaven Shall Burn

Expensive fucking guitar stand - Children of Bodom

Beautiful music from Apocalyptica

Ladies and gents - this is where the
festival really takes off!
Carcass in amazing shape

Thrash metal Santa - Tom Araya

The midnight hour belongs to King Diamond


Tightness incarnate = Prong

Ur-thrash aus Germany - Sodom

Professional, impressive, bad sound - Behemoth

Has anyone seen my penis?  Devin Townsend

Pandemonium unleashed - Emperor

Not the introduction to WOA one could've
hoped for - Megadeth

Picture galleries

Phil's pics from all days